Box Fixture Ideas for Kitchen Fluorescent Lights

An example with photo and description of a custom wood ceiling fixture for 4-foot fluorescent tube lighting. May 6, 2010

Any neat ideas for a box type kitchen light fixture made with two sets of fluorescent lights?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor M:
Not a good picture, but maybe it will help.

Click here for higher quality, full size image

From the original questioner:
Gorgeous cabinets. What wood are they? That is something like I was thinking of for the light. How did you attach the face? Does it just swing open when you want to replace the bulbs? Did you use plastic diffuser panels?

From contributor M:
Thanks. The cabinets are maple with a brown mahogany stain. I have made a few of these lights and have done the lid several different ways. Hinging one side leaves a slight gap, so then I started using a roller clip. For the last one I made some little ledges on the lid that correspond to the box. Just line it up and slide it back about an inch. It worked the best and looked the best. I used the light panel that Lowes carries. Cracked ice is the name of them, I think.

From the original questioner:
Is it hard maple, and what brand finish are you using? That's a nice brown for maple. Did you dye first or were you able to just stain? Did you have to spray and leave it, or could you just spray and wipe? What kind of topcoat are you using?

For the light, I'm not quite following you on the clips. What kind of roller clips did you use? How many to hold up the weight of the frame? What does sliding it back an inch do?

From contributor M:
This was a soft maple kitchen. I used a Mohawk dye and brown mahogany stain. Conversion varnish on the finish.

The frame is mounted solid to the ceiling; the lid that holds the light panels is the only thing that is removable. Forget about the clips; it's not the best way. The best way I've used is: I glued and shot blocks on the inside of the lid and shot corresponding blocks to the inside wall of the frame. When you hold the lid up to the frame, hold it so the blocks on the lid miss the blocks on the frame and slide the lid back into its place. The blocks on the lid go above the ones on the frame, holding it firmly and safely. I have looked at some metal fasteners to do this, but I will cross that bridge when I get another one to build. In 11 years I would say that I have made 20 or so.

From the original questioner:
I get what you're talking about. That seems a very solid way to do the lid. How many lights are in the one in the picture? Do you just use normal fluorescents? And what size have you found work well?

On the countertop on the island, how did you bend the round edge?

From contributor M:
I don't mess with lights. They tell me what size they are going to put in it and I build the box accordingly. The bar top isn't bent - just a solid piece add-on with the arch cut into it.